This year, Iceland is going to be home to a different reality, a Virtual Reality. The finnish gaming convention Slush, which we covered back in November in this article, has extended its event plan to include Reykjavik, Iceland. The increasingly popular event has collaborated with Nordic Game Institute among others, and spawned the new Slush PLAY, which will take place from April 28-29th 2015, and the theme is gaming and virtual reality, with a focus on future trends.
The crew behind Slush has a clear idea as to how important VR (Virtual Reality) is to build on, as they believe it is the gaming experience of tomorrow. Salóme Guðmundsdóttir, the CEO of Klak Innovit Startup Center in Iceland, talks about how the Slush PLAY convention came about. She says: “Slush PLAY is the initiative of key influencers within the gaming industry in Iceland, Klak Innovit startup center and Nordic Game Institute, are organized in partnership with the Slush executive team in Finland.”
Even though Iceland might not be the first country that comes to mind when talking about gaming and game developers, the island is strategically located in close proximity to both Europe and USA. Only 3 hours away from Europe and 5 hours from USA, it does make a lot of sense to meet on both figurative and literal common ground.
The work on VR around the globe, and especially in the Nordic games industry, is making huge waves in the gaming community, something that Slush PLAY wants to be a front-runner for. “We will be focusing on future trends where virtual reality is predicted to be a huge factor. In addition, virtual reality is an interesting field which is heating up with a fast pace, which is why we wanted to include it in the event.”, Guðmundsdóttir says.
“The purpose of the event is to bring together Nordic companies with US investors. The startup ecosystem in Iceland is dynamic and the emerge of new startups within gaming and virtual reality is growing really fast”
The Slush PLAY event is a much-needed presence according to Guðmundsdóttir, and she also predicts that the few hundred people attending this year’s Slush PLAY will grow to a couple of thousands next year. As the original Slush had a humble beginning, so will this one, right on square one.
The key speakers for the first Slush PLAY, however, are nothing short of spectacular, and it brings about an air of pure innovation and drive to see the list of the successful founders and CEOs within the gaming industry. The key speakers at the event include CEO of CCP Games Hilmar – Veigar Pétursson, Founder and CEO of Plain Vanilla Games – Þorsteinn Fridriksson, General Partner at London Venture Partners – David Gardner, Founder and CEO of Microtask – Ville Miettinen, CEO of RocketWerkz – Dean Hall and COO at Paradox Interactive – Susana Meza.
Slush also have other events lined up around the globe, something they have named Slush World events. These events will start with Slush ASIA, which will be organized right before Slush PLAY, on April 24th in Tokyo, Japan. Next is Slush Down Under, which will be held on April 28-29th in Melbourne, Australia. In addition to that, there are still yet not disclosed events in the making, not counting the original event that will be held in Helsinki again this year, on November 11-12th.
It’s a well planned expansion according to Guðmundsdóttir, and she points out that the Nordic gaming scene has reached such a height that it has a direct influence on the future of gaming.
“Slush PLAY will embrace the opportunity presented with the rise of world-leading Nordic gaming companies like DICE, Supercell, Rovio, King, Paradox, Remedy, CCP, Plain Vanilla (QuizUp) and all the other great Nordic enterprises and startups.”, Guðmundsdóttir concludes.